Packing for Backpacking

Packing can be extremely hard, so I’m going to cut right to the point and tell you exactly what I pack for my expeditions. I do not check bags. I only bring a carry on and a personal item. This will save you tons of time and money on trips!

Depending on the airline, carry-ons must stay under a certain size, and do not allow an additional personal item. I am currently packing for a trip through Delta and Korean Airlines. These airlines allow a carry-on bag and a personal item. My carry on is 30 litters packed full and a decent sized back pack purse (photo below.) If you are flying with smaller airlines such as Spirit or WOW, be prepared to fit your purse in an even smaller bag.

First things first; the clothing will depend on where you are traveling. My husband and I are visiting Thailand. The weather averages at around 85 degrees a day.

We will be gone for 10 days, so I brought two pairs of shorts, one pair of pants, and a skirt with leggings. Thailand expects women to cover their legs at temples, so I will keep the leggings with me at all times. If my trip would have been a bit longer longer, I would have brought my favorite pair of jeans, as well. Bottoms can last days without being washed. When packing pants, roll them up as tight as possible and put them at the bottom of your bag. They weigh the most and will create a solid base for the rest of your packing!

Another bottom I brought was a wrap skirt. This skirt also will cover my knees and is very airy for hot temperatures. It is easy to roll up and fit in any space! I am excited to wear this over my suit to the beach!

I am a bit of a workout addict, so I brought one pair of leggings and a workout tank top. I suggest bringing one tank top to workout in for a couple reasons. A tank top doesn’t get gross as fast as a T-shirt would. It also takes up less space! You may be thinking the tank top will be sweaty and stinky by the end of the trip – which it will – but if you just wear it to the gym, who cares! I suggest black or dark colors to hide any sweat marks.

The leggings are also what I will wear on our initial travel to get there, (34 hours worth of driving and flights to be exact.)

A must bring on any trip is comfortable clothes to relax or sleep in! If the weather was colder I would have brought one pair of my favorite sweatpants, but since it will be hot I brought one pair of shorts. Along with this, I packed two cut T-shirt’s that could double as casual shirts to wear out as well. I try to sleep in one shirt the entire trip to keep as many shirts clean as possible!

Can you go to Thailand without a swimsuit? No.

To dress up a bit, I brought one maxi dress. I will probably wear this out two or three times, so make sure it is your favorite dress that could translate as casual or fancy. Roll your dress up tight to save room in the bag.

Side note: I planned on bringing this hat, but decided last minute it would be a pain to haul it around, so I left it.

When packing shirts I suggest keeping them mostly neutral colors. Wearing the same shirt multiple times won’t seem so obvious and dark colors, once again, will hide sweat. I brought one light sweatshirt for night, three light tank tops that go with every pair of bottoms I brought, three shirts that cover my shoulders to throw over the tank tops, and two long sleeve tops that can go under or over any shirt if needed. It is definitely possible to get by with these basics for up to a month. Shirts are very easy to wash in a sink and hang to dry.

Side note: I try to bring tight, dark shirts so I don’t have to wear a bra. I know this is not possible for all ladies, but if you can do it – rock it!

Makeup is more of a personal decision. I prefer to have makeup on for photos and to look approachable! I try to limit what I bring by choosing eyeliner, mascara, a single eyeshadow, and concealer. I also brought my eyebrow stick, highlighter, and a brush. This keeps my makeup bag extremely small and easy to throw in the pack. Another personal choice is a hair curler/straightener. I never bring these on trips, mostly because they don’t work in foreign plug-ins, but also, I am too busy to worry about fixing my hair! They are awkward in bags and take up valuable room!

I also pack a small bag of toiletries. This includes a toothbrush, toothpaste (holistic powder toothpaste to avoid liquid rules,) leave in conditioner, face wash (coconut oil mixed with tea tree, lavender, and oatmeal,) dry shampoo (cocoa powder,) and deodorant. Remember to keep liquids under 3 ounces to avoid conflict!

Lastly, I packed my tennis shoes for workouts, comfy sandals, and will wear my vans for travel. This all fits in my Osprey, 30 liter pack. My purse-backpack holds my wallet, camera, lotion, lavender oil, 2 books, and water bottle. Can’t forget my new neck pillow strapped to the side as well!

If I were traveling to a chilly place I would wear a rain coat and warm coat over my airport clothes. It sucks being sweaty, but these thick layers take up too much room in a bag, so pack them on your body!

This trip allowed me to pack a big bag so I took advantage of it. I always suggest packing as minimal as possible to experience living with less. It makes you realize you have too many clothes when you get home again. Packing minimal makes it so easy to pick your outfits out each day.

I hope this helps next time you travel!

Check out my Instagram to see photos and ask me further questions about packing or traveling!


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